These are the 26 people who were hauled before courts across Merseyside this month but walked free.
One court heard of two ticket scammers who stole thousand s Liverpool fans as part of a ‘sophisticated’ operation.
Kieran Foynes and David Glaz sold match tickets that didn’t exist on Craigslist and Twitter, pocketing £2,040 for themselves.
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Illegal dog breeder Lisa Walker was also spared an immediate jail sentence after making more than £30,000 from selling puppies.
The 42-year-old didn’t have a licence to sell the puppies but gave the “false impression” she had a legitimate business.
When sentencing, judges and magistrates have to follow a set of guidelines and consider if there’s a realistic prospect of rehabilitation, strong personal mitigation and if immediate custody will result in a harmful impact on others.
These circumstances, as well as other considerations, can tip the balance on whether an offender walks free from court or is sent straight to jail.
Read the latest court cases where people were spared jail below.
A yob who punched a girl 25 times was told ‘we all make mistakes’.
During the violent attack Kyle Lye punched his victim to the ground and told her he “wouldn’t stop until she was dead”.
The 19-year-old “punched her to the ground, kicked her and punched her body approximately 25 times as she was curled on the floor.”
He admitted the offence in interview and following his appearance at court a magistrate told him: “We all make mistakes, it’s a question of controlling your emotions.”
Lye, of Finch Lane, Knotty Ash, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.
He was handed 20 weeks suspended for one year and must complete 10 hours of Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and 120 hours of unpaid work.
Lye must also pay his victim £300 in compensation and £85 in court costs and complete a Building Better Relationships programme, which Magistrate Wood said was “fundamental” to his rehabilitation.
Samantha Willett and Diane Reynolds
Staff at a luxury hotel and wedding venue sought ‘revenge’ on the owner after she reversed a decision to sack the chef.
Samantha Willett, 36, and Diana Reynolds, 41, were both operational managers at the Hillbark Hotel in Frankby for between eight and 12 months.
Liverpool Crown Court heard tensions between staff came to a head after Willett fired the hotel’s chef, only for the owner, Lisa Baker, to reinstate him.
Staff were then caught on CCTV roaming through the hotel in two groups – those who agreed with the decision and those who didn’t – on October 5, 2019.
Reynolds was seen slapping another staff member and hurling verbal abuse, while Willett said she left the premises and “clipped” the owner’s car.
Willett, of Manor Drive, Upton, admitted one count of criminal damage.
Reynolds, of Cherry Tree Road, Moreton, admitted affray, theft by employee and damage of property.
Willett was handed an 18 month conditional discharge while Reynolds was handed a 12-month community order with 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and a two week curfew between 9pm and 6am.
A mum said she got in a car after drinking vodkas and martinis because of a ‘violent’ incident at a party.
Neighbours discovered Patricia Whitehead had crashed into a parked car after hearing a ‘bang’ on Inman Avenue on St Helens on March 21 this year.
Going to investigate, residents found the mum drunk behind the wheel of a red Kia Picanto while her daughter sat in a passenger seat “crying”.
She was more than four times the legal limit, and was subsequently arrested for drink driving.
Her defence lawyer said the 50-year-old, who has no previous convictions, got behind the wheel after drinking vodkas and martinis because she was “unsettled” by an “incident of violence” of which she was “effectively the victim”.
Whitehead, of Mount Pleasant Avenue, St Helens, admitted one count of driving a motor vehicle above the alcohol level limit.
She was handed a 12-month community order and she must complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
Whitehead was also disqualified from driving for two years and must pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.
Kieran Foynes and David Glaz
Two ticket scammers walked free from court after stealing thousands from Liverpool FC fans.
Kieran Foynes, and David Glaz, both 25, set up a ‘sophisticated’ operation on Craigslist where they would sell match tickets that didn’t exist.
The friends even set up foreign bank accounts and used fake names to dupe innocent buyers out of a total of £2,040.
A district judge told them their offences were “extremely mean” particularly as the majority were “around Christmas time”.
Foynes, of Fincham Road, Huyton, admitted fraud on December 10 2019 while Glaz, of Clare Walk, Fazakerly, admitted fraud between December 12 2018 and May 30, 2019.
Foynes and Glaz were both handed 12 weeks in custody suspended for 18 months and must complete 180 hours of unpaid work. The judge said they must also complete up to 30 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and pay costs of £85.
Jamie Mee’s “alarming collection of weapons” was discovered when he argued with a flatmate about a large electricity bill.
Police were called to his Kirkby home after he allegedly assaulted a female friend during a “dispute”.
But when officers arrived in Hawthorne Drive she told them about his stash of guns, knives, crossbows and 48 knuckledusters.
A court heard none of those items seized, including a deactivated handgun, an air rifle and cosh, are illegal to have in your own home.
A prosecutor said the “arsenal of weapons” was displayed as a seemingly “genuine collection”.
Mee, who has four previous convictions for 12 offences, admitted three counts of possessing a weapon for the discharge of a noxious liquid, gas, electrical device or thing.
A judge told Mee: “It seems to me it’s mitigation that you have disclaimed any right to have any of these weapons returned to you.”
He was handed a 15-month community order, with a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and two-month home curfew, from 9pm to 6am daily.
A teenager told a girl he would ‘smash her head’ after he attacked her.
Dylan Cleary had punched the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, in the face repeatedly.
The girl, in her mid teens, was left with injuries including a cut lip after the 19-year-old’s attack.
A court heard Clearly, of Pickmere Drive, Eastham, had been “extremely aggressive” and was “shouting abuse” before telling her he would “smash her head in”.
Cleary, of Pickmere Drive, Eastham, admitted common assault, sending malicious communications and criminal damage in relation to a copy of the codes of practices, which he destroyed while in a police station.
He has no previous convictions for violence, a court heard.
Cleary was handed a nine week sentence suspended for 18-months a two year restraining order was also imposed and he must pay compensation £150, costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £128.
A man who took a knife into A&E hurled abuse at NHS workers after refusing to leave.
Jordan Willis said he attended Whiston Hospital after someone threw acid at his friend during a fight.
Police were called to the hospital in Rainhill after the 27-year-old was being “aggressive and disruptive” towards security staff on May 24.
Willis, of St Helens Road, Leigh, said he didn’t realise he had the knife in his pocket and had been using it to open boxes.
He admitted being drunk and disorderly and possession of a bladed article.
Willis was handed a six month sentence suspended for 18 months and must carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay prosecution costs of £425.
An illegal dog breeder who made more than £30,000 selling puppies walked free from court.
Lisa Walker raked in the cash when prices for dogs doubled due to the high demand for new pets during lockdown.
The mum-of-five sold French bulldogs and Cockapoos for up to £2,800 a puppy after advertising them online.
But the 42-year-old didn’t have a licence despite the fact she gave the “false impression” she had a legitimate business and sold the puppies from her home without a licence between August 23 and November 25 last year.
Walker, of The Caravan Park, Sherdley Road, St Helens, admitted carrying out an activity without a licence and engaging in unfair commercial practice.
A court heard she had one previous unrelated conviction from 2000 and she admitted making some profit but said she didn’t keep any records.
She was handed a 12-month community order, with a three-month home curfew from 9pm to 6am daily, and banned her from dealing in dogs for a year.
An owner left his cat crying in pain and in clear distress after it suffered a broken pelvis.
Orrin Lloyd was charged with inflicting blunt force trauma on Puss the tabby cat, but cleared following a trial.
The 31-year-old was convicted, however, of causing unnecessary suffering when he didn’t seek help while it was clearly in distress between April 30, 2020 and May 4, 2020.
The vets considered putting the cat down due to the severity of the injuries, but after spending 15 days in an animal hospital it is now “doing well”.
His mum said she had previously been concerned about his treatment of animals when he threw a mouse down the stairs.
Lloyd, of Scarisbrick Avenue, Southport, was handed a 12-month community order and must complete 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and 80 hours of unpaid work.
He was banned from keeping any animal for 10 years and must pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £95.
A dad-of-one caught with child rape photos was “perfectly normal” and just made “bad decisions”, a court heard.
Garry Roberts had a sickening collection of indecent images featuring child abuse victims aged as young as five.
The corporate broker said he started looking at them when depressed and seeking “thrills” after his marriage ended.
The 54-year-old, of Southway, Wavertree, was spared jail after a judge decided there was a “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”.
Roberts, who has no previous convictions, admitted three counts of downloading and one of possessing indecent images of children after a raid at his home on March 23, 2020.
He was handed eight months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
A judge ordered him to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and sign on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
A union representative stole £12,000 worth of cigarettes from a Co-op warehouse in St Helens.
Dean Croft thieved seven bags of cigarettes from the warehouse after working there for 10 years.
Croft, 45, claimed he had been asked to retrieve the bags, which if sold would have been worth £12,717.21.
However, the court heard the actual cost to the company did not include duty and was actually £6,700.
In an interview Croft, of Dunedin Street, Thatto Heath, claimed he had taken the bags “under orders” and legitimately, but later admitted the offences.
Croft, who has no previous convictions, admitted one count of theft by employee between April 27 and May 24 last year.
He was handed 18 weeks suspended for one year and ordered to complete 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and 200 hours of unpaid work.
A teenage boy led police on a 60mph scrambler bike chase after attending a ‘ride out’ at his friend’s funeral.
Kane Hughes, then 17, was one of a group of riders who attended the service on off road motorbikes to pay “tribute” on January 25 this year.
But police said they blocked roads and their “reckless” actions left residents “frightened and intimidated”.
Officers pursued Hughes for about 10 minutes as he did twice the speed limit, mounted a pavement and shot through a red light after “panicking” when on a scrambler bike he had rented for £100.
Hughes, now 18, of Acorn Street, Newton-le-Willows, admitted dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.
A judge told Hughes he was persuaded the crimes were “really just a function of your youth and poor decision making through lack of maturity”.
He was handed an 18-month community order, with 140 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
He also banned Hughes from driving for 12 months.
A carer who stole £7,000 from a vulnerable woman and blew it on a holiday to Mexico has avoided jail for the second time.
Ruth Fort took the bank card of a disabled victim with numerous health problems and “significant” mental health difficulties.
The mum-of-one even used it abroad when she splashed “extortionate” amounts of cash during the family holiday to North America.
Fort, 46, of Harrowby Road, Birkenhead, admitted fraud and was handed 16 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, in February.
As part of the sentence she was told to carry out a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement for 30 days.
She admitted breaching her suspended sentence by missing a meeting with the probation service on May 20 and on May 24.
Fort also tested positive for “cocaine and opiates”.
She was ordered to comply with a six-month Drug Rehabilitation Requirement.
A “family man” armed himself with an axe before confronting a gang of “hostile youths” after months of harassment.
Norman Gray, 50, of Widnes, resorted to arming himself with the weapon on the afternoon of Thursday, March 11.
The ugly scenes on March 11 followed what Mr Taylor said were three months of youths “harassing” Gray’s family, “shouting abuse” and “beeping their vehicles”.
Gray, who had no previous convictions, said he had no intention of using the axe but took it to “protect himself” as he knew the group were armed with at least a crowbar.
The prosecution accepted Gray, who admitted having a bladed article in public, was provoked by a “hostile gang of youths” and a judge said it was “entirely out of character”.
He was handed eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 50 hours’ unpaid work.
A disgraced parish councillor walked free from court after sexually assaulting three men and leaving an OAP with a brain injury.
Kieran Reed groped a police officer’s thigh and tried to touch a taxi driver’s penis before being released on bail.
The 37-year-old then touched another man’s genitalia as he showered and in a separate incident knocked an 85-year-old unconscious.
The pensioner was left with “traumatic brain injuries” after he fell and hit his head during an argument with drunken Reed on April 30.
Reed was spared jail despite a probation officer calling him a “high risk of serious harm” and a “high risk of further offending”.
Reed, of Church Street, Widnes, has seven previous convictions for nine offences and was last in court for resisting a police officer 2009.
The court heard he had a dependency on alcohol and was ordered to complete 120 days of an Alcohol Abstinence Requirement.
He was handed a one-year sentence suspended for two years and must complete 50 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and an eight-month curfew between 7pm and 7am was also imposed.
Reed also has to complete 31 days of the Horizon program and must sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years and pay £750 in compensation to Mr Clarke and £150 to each of the victims of his sexual offences.
A two year restraining order against the OAP was also imposed.
A mum who let her drug dealing boyfriend grow cannabis in her family’s home was spared jail.
Police discovered more than £13,000 of cocaine and heroin when they raided Shauna Armstrong’s house on Hollingbourne Road in Norris Green.
Her boyfriend Patrick Jones, 36, was jailed for three years and four months after he tried to flee out the back door with a rucksack full of the Class A drugs.
Officers also found three kilos of mixing agents, plus 13 cannabis plants – two growing in the kitchen and 11 in the garden during a raid on September 26, 2019.
Jones, of Judges Drive, Newsham Park, admitted possessing cocaine and heroin with intent to supply, and producing cannabis.
Armstrong, said to have only “minor blemishes” on her criminal record, admitted permitting premises to be used for its production.
Armstrong, 27, was handed a 12-month community order, with a 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and two-month home curfew, from 10pm to 6am daily.
Jones, who said he was dealing to pay off the costs of his daugther’s funeral, was jailed for three years and four months.
A grandad discussed having sex with a ’13-year-old girl’ because he said he was ‘bored’ after retiring.
Desmond Brown, 68, chatted to a person he thought was a schoolgirl online and claimed he once had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female pupil while working at a school.
But the pervert, who discussed meeting up and taking her for a drive, was actually talking to an undercover police officer.
Brown, of Gairloch Close in Warrington, admitted engaging in sexual communication with a child between August 8 and September 10, 2019.
The OAP was previously spared jail for two counts of indecent assault on a woman and indecent exposure in 1981.
He was handed him 10 months in jail, suspended for two years, with a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement after a court heard he was undertaking therapy.
Brown must comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and sign on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
A bouncer attacked a couple who refused to stop vaping inside a city centre bar.
Robert Morris left one woman with a fractured ankle after punching her partner in the face at Smokie Mo’s on Great Charlotte Street.
A court heard there was “significant provocation” after the couple refused to stop vaping when they were asked to by staff.
After the 31-year-old swept a woman’s leg from under her it took her two years to recover and she refused to go to Liverpool for a night out afterwards.
Morris, of Longmoor Lane, Fazakerley, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and assault.
He was spared jail after the court heard there was “significant provocation” and Morris “acknowledged he lost full control”.
Morris, who has three dissimilar previous convictions, was handed 13 months suspended for 18 months and must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £1,250 in compensation.
A mum said she helped her son grow cannabis in their back garden because he was in “trouble” with drug dealers.
Police searched Elaine Torres’ home because of the strong smell of cannabis coming from the address in Kirkby.
Officers found an outdoor growing tent and a brick shed containing 35 cannabis plants and cuttings hanging up to dry during a search on July 28 last year.
Torres, 56, and her 19-year-old son, Lee Woods, were arrested at the home in Sidney Powell Avenue, Westvale.
The mum-of-three, who admitted cannabis production, said she did it because Woods was threatened over a debt.
The court heard said Torres had expressed remorse, made admissions in interview, was effectively of good character, had a job as a care worker and was also the primary carer for her daughter, who has health and education issues.
She was handed a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and told her to pay £350 towards court costs.
A mum-of-two allegedly took photos of police officers in court after she was spared jail for money laundering.
Paula Heathers, 50, was in a relationship with 42-year-old Keith Russell, described as one of the main players in a £2.5m burglary plot.
It involved raids on homes across Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire when high performance cars, jewellery and other luxury items were stolen.
Prosecutors said Russell received payment for some of the burglaries from the gang’s ringleader via Heathers, who accepted deposits into her bank account.
The mum, of The Green, Broadgreen, had admitted converting criminal property, relating to a total of £1,575 over a period of around 12 months.
Heathers was handed 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, after a court heard locking up Heathers would have a significant harmful impact on her children who suffer from ADHD.
The court heard she had a good prospect of rehabilitation and she was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.
But after she was spared jail and decided to stay and watch other members of the gang being sentenced, she took out her mobile phone and started taking photos, which is strictly forbidden and carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
A manager who stole more than £9,000 from two hospice charity shops has walked free from court, despite having done it before.
Susan Kay worked at two of the shops which raise money for Queenscourt Hospice, a charity which provides end of life care.
The 64-year-old stole a total of £9,171.83 from the shops by failing to bank credit slips between 2018 and 2019.
It wasn’t the first time Kay had stolen from charity and in 2011 she was convicted for misappropriating £1,648 of charity funds.
Kay, of Blackhorse Lane, Old Swan, admitted two counts of theft by employee between October 5, 2018 and October 9, 2018 and between December 1, 2018 and May 16, 2019.
Kay was handed an eight month sentence suspended for one year and ordered to complete 25 Rehabilitation Activity Requirements.
A business owner who lied to try to get his hands on a £300,000 grant was spared jail.
Robert Byrne was approved for the grant after he submitted a false bank statement on behalf of his company, Franklin Energy.
The 32-year-old founded the business, which specialises in electric vehicle charging, in 2015.
But the dad, who previously won a ‘young entrepreneur of the year’ award, found himself in the dock after trying to swindle a public body to keep his company solvent, although he did not succeed in obtaining any funds.
Byrne, of Moor Drive, Crosby, admitted one count of fraud.
He has five previous convictions for eight offences and on March 8, 2018, was convicted of making off without payment and in 2017 was convicted of perverting the course of justice.
The judge said it was an “important factor” that there was only “risk of loss” and no actual loss of money, adding it was it was “quite apparent” he had shown “considerable remorse”.
Byrne was handed 10 months suspended for 15 months and must pay costs of £1,500.
A mum who dealt cannabis on behalf of her son from their family home took orders from him via text.
Jake Cowhig, 25, had a “tick list” titled “The Graft” showing amounts of cash owed totalling more than £31,000.
In a raid at his house on Grantham Road, Kirkby, on July 2 last year police found his vacuum sealing machine, while in another they seized “designer clothes” plus Rolex and Omega watches.
But texts on his mobile phone revealed the drug dealer was using his mum Sharon Cowhig, 52.
Jake Cowhig admitted two counts of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, while his mum admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Jake has one previous conviction for possessing cannabis in 2014, for which he received a conditional discharge, and two cautions for possessing the drug in 2013.
The court heard Jake was remorseful, still relatively young and had a “decent employment history” until this was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
A judge accepted he was dealing a drug he had been “addicted to for some considerable period of time”.
Peter Killen, defending Sharon, who had no previous convictions, said a pre-sentence report showed she had “a large amount of regret” about her “lack of judgement” in getting involved.
The court heard she had no influence on other people and her role was limited.
Sharon was handed her eight months in prison, suspended for 10 months, with a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 50 hours of unpaid work.
Jake was jailed for 14 months.
A teacher headbutted a teenage boy and told him to “shut the f*** up” in a shocking attack.
Craig Embrey, 31, left the 16-year-old, who attends a special school, with a split lip which needed three stitches.
Embrey got into a row with two teenagers who were on their way back from a house party which was taking place on his street on January 18 last year.
The 16-year-old and his friend had planned to go to a house party in Greenfinch Grove, Warrington, but seeing the size of the group in and around the house they changed their minds.
It was while walking back Embrey, who has no previous convictions, told them to “shut the f*** up” and headbutted him.
A judge said that he accepted Embrey “had genuinely but mistakenly misjudged the situation” and thought he was about to be attacked.
Embrey, of Greenfinch Grove, Warrington, pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.
He was ordered to pay his victim £900 compensation and the judge also imposed a community order for nine months.
Embrey, who was sacked from his job following the attack, was also ordered to carry out 10 days rehabilitation activities and 90 hours unpaid work and must pay £300 prosecution costs.
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